The Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for the Class of 2018.

Frank Popolizio

Six individuals have been selected for Lifetime Service Awards: Mike Conners, Mark Faller, Scott Freischlag, Michael Hogan, Frank Popolizio, and Gene Tracy. In addition, Patrick K. Greene will receive the Outstanding American Award, while Michael Wilcox will be presented with the Volunteer Award. Betsy Veysman has been named recipient of the Stanbro Media Award. Frankie Gissendanner has earned the Feldmeier Outstanding Wrestler Award, and Haley Finn is this year’s Tricia Saunders Award nominee. 

These honorees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame’s Upstate New York Chapter on Sunday, Sept. 23 at the Double Tree Hotel in East Syracuse, N.Y. A social hour begins at noon in the Crossroads Ballroom; dinner will be served at 1:15 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.

Lifetime Service Award honorees for 2018 

  • Mike Conners: As a wrestler at Baldwinsville High School, Conners won back-to-back New York Section III titles and earned the New York state championship as a senior. Conners then played football and wrestled at St. Lawrence University, where he was a four-time conference champ and a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, winning the D3 national heavyweight title in 1984. Conners was a long-time mat coach at Fulton High, compiling an incredible 510-44-1 record with six state championship team titles and numerous other honors.
  • Mark Faller: Faller wrestled at Port Jervis High, then at Harvard University, where he was a three-time NCAA Division I championships qualifier. He returned to his high school alma mater where coached the Banach brothers – Steve, Ed, and Lou – among others, taking his teams to League Championships from 1975-80, and Section IX between 1976 and 1980. Faller taught and coached at Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, crafting a 122-104-1 record… then coached the wrestling club program at University of Georgia, then at various mat clubs in Alaska.
  • Scott Freischlag: Freischlag won the 1981 Section VI title as a wrestler at Lewiston-Porter High. He then headed off to Ohio to wrestle at Ashland College (where he was a Heartland Conference championships runner-up), then returned to New York to continue his academic and athletic career at Cortland State, winning a SUNY championship. Freischlag began his coaching career at Ridgewood High in New Jersey, then moved on to Wayne Central High, where his teams tallied a 243-47-2 overall record, with five New York state wrestling champs.
  • Michael Hogan: Hogan wrestled at Peru High where he was a multi-time Section VII champ. He then headed to Hofstra University, where he was a three-time East Coast Conference champion and qualified for the NCAA championships three times as well. Hogan launched his coaching career at Saranac High in 1985, then returned to his high school alma mater in 1998 where he remains today. In his coaching career, Hogan mentored 42 state placewinners and nine individual state champs.
  • Frank Popolizio: The brother of Pat Popolizio, former coach at Binghamton who now heads up the wrestling program at North Carolina State, Frank Popolizio wrestled for Joe Bena at Niskayuna High. After graduating from Springfield College in Massachusetts, Frank Popolizio returned to his high school to serve as Bena’s assistant from 1995-2003, then moved on to Shenendehowa High School as an assistant coach where he remains, being part of program that can claim 12 Section II titles and four New York state team titles, as well as nine individual state champs. In 1999, Frank Popolizio launched Journeymen Wrestling to promote, teach, advocate and showcase wrestling throughout the northeastern U.S.
  • Gene Tracy: Tracy was introduced to the oldest and greatest sport at Fulton, then returned to his community as a wrestling official. He was instrumental in the development of the Friends of Section III Wrestling, and very active in the New York State Wrestling Officials’ Association. Tracy concluded his long and successful career as an official at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

    Outstanding American Award

  • Patrick K. Greene: Greene built an 88-6-1 record as a wrestler at Cicero High, twice placing third at the state championships. He then continued his mat career with the now-defunct program at Syracuse University, where he was an NCAA Division I qualifier. Greene later became a Wall Street lawyer, then relocated to the Albany area where he was a founding member of Friends of Section II Wrestling.

    Volunteer Award

  • Michael Wilcox: Wilcox wrestled at Oneonta High, then returned to the sport as a volunteer coach at Greene High School, where he developed the Greene Wrestling Booster Club, serving as the organization’s president for 15 years. In addition, Wilcox has officiated wrestling in Section IV since 1985.

    Stanbro Media Award

  • Betsy Veysman: A three-sport high school athlete, Veysman launched her sportswriting career at Cornell University. Writing for the Cornell Daily Sun, Veysman developed a passion for covering wrestling which later morphed into helping the Big Red mat program with its newsletter to keep fans informed. More recently, Veysman has launched the New York Wrestling News website.

    Feldmeier Outstanding Wrestler Award

  • Frankie Gissendanner: In six years as a varsity wrestler at Penfield High School, Gissendanner crafted an incredible 267-11 overall record, with six Section V titles, and four New York state championships.

    Tricia Saunders Nominee

  • Haley Finn: Finn took up wrestling at age 10 or 11, joining the Journeymen Wrestling Club founded by fellow Upstate New York Chapter Class of 2018 honoree Frank Popolizio. In March Finn was crowned New York Cadet women’s champ. She is an eleven-time All-American at Fargo and the Folkstyle Nationals. This fall Finn will be taking her mat talents to the women’s wrestling program at Life University in Marietta, Georgia just outside Atlanta.


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